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Endometriosis and the Stress of Delayed Surgery During COVID-19

Posted on May 14, 2020

Article written by
Christine Sprunger

  • Many endometriosis surgeries are being delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
  • Endometriosis symptoms and physical pain may be exacerbated by stress.
  • Experts recommend managing stress and working with doctors to find nonsurgical treatments to ease pain.

What to Do If Your Surgery Is Delayed

One of the difficulties facing women with endometriosis is the delay in surgeries used to diagnose and treat endometriosis. According to Endometriosis UK, the majority of endometriosis surgeries are classified as nonurgent and have been delayed indefinitely until hospitals and clinics have a better idea of when they can resume routine operations.

As frustrating and concerning as this situation is, there are things women facing endometriosis can do now to help alleviate pain. Dr. Melanie Marin of New York Physicians urges women to find a doctor who has expertise in nonsurgical treatments. “There are multiple medical options that can be used to treat endometriosis and relieve the debilitating pain while we are waiting for hospitals to reopen for routine business,” she said. For instance, Dr. Marin suggests that medications can be used in combinations to help relieve pain where a single medication has failed.

When to Seek Care for Endometriosis Symptoms

In addition to the pain women may feel as a result of not being treated surgically, endometriosis symptoms may be exacerbated by stress. Endonews reported on a study that showed stress enhanced the size of endometriotic lesions and contributed to inflammation and pain in women with endometriosis who are exposed to chronic stress.

This two-fold situation can make it difficult to know when to seek care at an outpatient clinic or emergency room. Dr. Karli Goldstein, associate surgeon at the Seckin Endometriosis Center, said it’s important to “avoid the ER at all costs unless you have signs of something extremely acute — you are having trouble breathing, high sustained fevers, intractable nausea/vomiting (signs of bowel obstruction), or a history of pneumothorax.”

Dr. Michael Nimaroff, senior vice president and executive director of Ob-Gyn Services at Northwell Health, reminded women to “reach out to your health care provider before going to the ER.”

How to Manage Stress and Endometriosis

Worries about COVID-19, our family and friends, and job or school situations all contribute to stress — which can make symptoms worse. Dr. Lucy Erickson, the director of science programs at the Society of Women’s Health, said, “Taking care of yourself as best as you can, including your mental health, is really important.” Here are some actions you can take to maintain your physical and mental health during this stressful time:

Make a plan to reach out to friends or loved ones by phone or video chat to minimize feelings of isolation. As always, MyEndometriosisTeam offers a support group of over 100,000 women facing the same condition as you, available online.

Here are a few conversations about how members of MyEndometriosisTeam are coping with these challenges:

What are you doing to stay healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing? How are you keeping stress in check? Please share your ideas in the comments below or post them on MyEndometriosisTeam.

Stay up to date with the CDC’s situation summary about COVID-19.

References

  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Endometriosis — Endometriosis UK
  2. Endometriosis and COVID-19 — New York Physicians
  3. Stress Affects Endometriosis Negatively — Endonews
  4. Ask the Experts, COVID-19 and Endo — Endofound
  5. Managing Endometriosis During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Society for Women's Health Research
  6. Yoga For Pelvic Pain, Endometriosis & Fibroids — Brett Larkin Yoga on YouTube
  7. How Yoga And Meditation Changed My Experience With Endometriosis Completely — Sivana East
  8. Mindfulness: Manage your Endometriosis Symptoms — Endometriosis Foundation of America
  9. Spirituality and Prayer Relieve Stress — Psych Central
  10. Want To Boost Your Immune System? A Healthy Diet Is An Important Start — Forbes
  11. Uses & Benefits of Using Lavender — Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm
  12. Need Some Gym-spiration? Exercise Can Help Your Endo — Endometriosis Foundation of America
  13. When and How to Wash Your Hands — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  14. Situation Summary — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Christine has a passion for helping people with chronic conditions explore and understand their treatment options, so they can make the best choices about their care. Learn more about her here.

A MyEndometriosisTeam Member said:

If you resonate with to this article, look up the study on NAC and endometriosis, and how many of the women in the study cancelled their scheduled read more

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